Monday, 30 October 2017

The Power and Destruction of Envy - 31 Days in Acts



Today then is Day 30 and we are on chapter 17 of Acts.



verses 1-10

Paul, Silas, Timothy and Luke are still travelling and have reached Thessalonica.
There is a synagogue there and as we have seen in previous chapters the synagogue is where they go to be able to speak to the Jews of the new location they are in.  So no change here but this time we see that they go there for 3 consecutive Sabbath Days.  It does not tell us that they were greatly received and many were saved straight after the first sermon but rather that they reasoned and explained for 3 different days so people were listening but not necessarily responding immediately.

Doesn't this give us encouragement to know that Paul did not always have a great immediate response from everywhere he went but would sometimes have to wait to see the fruit of sharing Christ with others?  We need to not get disheartened and think we can't do a good enough job when we do not see results like Paul often saw.


So in verse 4 we read that many were saved, some were Jews, a lot were Greeks and some women get a mention here.

However, in verse 5 we see another reaction

But the Jews who were not persuaded, becoming envious, took some of the evil men from the marketplace, and gathering a mob, set all the city in an uproar and attacked the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people.

Look at the result of envy here.

The meaning of envy:

a feeling of discontented or resentful longing aroused by someone else's possessions, qualities, or luck.

Note it does not say that the person has done something wrong to cause this feeling in others.





First of all what were they envious of?  
If we go by the meaning above then they were envious of the qualities Paul and the others had or the way things were happening around them or the good situation they appeared to be in or the way others liked them.
This means they resented Paul & the others and the effect they thought they had on people which was not an effect they themselves had.
There was probably a lot of admiring talk about these visitors and the Jews who had not believed their message grew angry and did some irrational and violent things because of the feelings they allowed to accumulate in their minds.

A lot of harm can be done in any setting whether it be a home, a city, a church, a community, or a workplace when someone becomes envious of another.

Secondly what does envy entail?  

Envy 

  • brings exaggeration of incidents or actions, 
  • increases associations with people who may have other ulterior motives, 
  • invites gossip, 
  • often involves lies, 
  • incites other people who would otherwise have been happy enough with the situation originally, 
  • spits out accusations 
  • brings on attacks whether physical or verbal.

No-one involved in the situation can come through it unharmed in some way.

Jason is a new person introduced to us now, obviously someone who was hospitable and a believer and because they cannot find Paul and the others, he is ill treated simply for providing a place for the visitors to stay.

Then in verse 7  I think it is very interesting to read

 Jason has harboured them, and these are all acting contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying there is another king—Jesus.” 

because it makes me think of the accusations that were actually made of Jesus when the Jewish rulers were inciting the people and having Jesus brought for trial before being crucified.


Thirdly what were the two results of this envy?

verse 9   -   Jason & other believers had to give money to show they are promising that Jason's guests will not be a problem in the city.

verse 10  -  Paul, Silas, Timothy and Luke had to leave straight away and go to Berea possibly because the other believers could not trust the mob or the Jews and still feared something would happen to them.


In a situation ruled by envy it is always hard to trust again.


verses 11-15

We can think back to Day 22  Daily Scriptures  when we looked at the verse about the Bereans and see a different attitude here from people who trusted by verifying with scripture and not going by feelings.

However those who had been ruled by envy came to Berea to cause trouble once more and again Paul & Luke had to leave immediately, moving on this time to Athens.  Silas & Timothy were left behind in Berea but Paul wanted them to join him again as soon as possible.



Evil will always want to stop the Gospel being preached.



I'm trying to read and write about the Book of Acts for 31 Days so please come back and join me for some notes & some thoughts each day. 

As the month goes on each Day's Link will be added in 



2 comments:

  1. Envy is actually quite dangerous. It can open the flood gates to a host of other wrongs in the eyesight of God, as you have pointed out. Lord help us not be envious of others.

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  2. Envy is such a deadly sin, isn't it?!?! I pray that envy does not overcome me. It can be so harmful.

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